Football Schedule Should Test Hogs Early On

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino can't seem to catch a break when it comes to getting an easy football schedule to work with.

Arkansas officials released their 2009 schedule on Friday, and it appears for the second straight year that the Razorbacks will be tested early on.

After opening the season in Little Rock against Missouri State on Sept. 5, Arkansas will get a week off before hosting Georgia, traveling to Alabama and renewing its rivalry with Texas A&M in the Dallas Cowboys' plush new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Though brutal, the stretch doesn't appear to be as daunting as a year ago when the Razorbacks faced No. 6 Alabama, No. 4 Texas and top-ranked Florida in consecutive weeks.

"We appreciate the patience of our fans in awaiting the official release of our schedule as we attempted to eliminate the open date in the second week of the season," Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement released through the university.

"We explored every avenue to re-configure the schedule to benefit our football team. In the end, we were not able to find a feasible option for the upcoming season."

Arkansas' schedule over the first half of the season doesn't get much easier after it faces Texas A&M on Oct. 3 in its first game against the Aggies since 1991.

The Razorbacks host Auburn on Oct. 10, marking the second consecutive year that former Springdale High coach Gus Malzahn will return to Fayetteville as a coach of another team.

Malzahn, Auburn's new offensive coordinator, was on the sideline last November as Tulsa's co-offensive coordinator when the Golden Hurricane lost 30-23 in Reynolds Razorbacks Stadium.

The month of October includes two more highly anticipated games for Arkansas. The Hogs will travel to Florida on Oct. 17 to face the BCS national champions and then get a rematch with former coach Houston Nutt at Ole Miss on Oct. 24.

Four of Arkansas' first seven games are on the road, though the team catches a break in the second half of the season with four consecutive homes games from Oct. 31 to Nov. 21.

"Our 2009 schedule features nonconference and SEC games against some of the nation's outstanding programs," Long said in the statement. "It all adds up to what should be another exciting year of Razorback football."

Despite an unfavorable SEC schedule, Petrino has what appears to be four rather easy nonconference games. Along with the Missouri State and Texas A&M games, Arkansas hosts Eastern Michigan (Oct. 31) and Troy (Nov. 14).

At A Glance

2009 Arkansas Razorbacks Football Schedule

Opponent's 2008 record in parentheses

Date Opponent Site Time

April 18 Red-White Spring Game Fayetteville TBA

Sept. 5 Missouri State (4-7) Little Rock TBA

Sept. 19 Georgia* (10-3) Fayetteville TBA

Sept. 26 Alabama* (12-2) Tuscaloosa, Ala. TBA

Oct. 03 **Texas A&M (4-8) Arlington, Texas TBA

Oct. 10 Auburn* (5-7) Fayetteville TBA

Oct. 17 Florida* (13-1) Gainesville, Fla. TBA

Oct. 24 Ole Miss* (9-4) Oxford, Miss. TBA

Oct. 31 ***Eastern Michigan (3-9) Fayetteville TBA

Nov. 07 South Carolina* (7-6) Fayetteville TBA

Nov. 14 Troy (8-5) Fayetteville TBA

Nov. 21 Mississippi State* (4-8) Little Rock TBA

Nov. 28 LSU* (8-5) Baton Rouge, La. TBA

*Southeastern Conference game

**At Dallas Cowboys Stadium


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